Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mistletoe Mania with Guest Blogger: Melissa Jarvis

Win an ancient fossil pendant necklace
from history buff and busy author
Melissa Jarvis today at the Boost!

She's here to talk about it all...

The Anything and Everything Under the Tree Blog

For the near Christmas, frantic holiday rush, going out of my mind blog, I looked at the suggestions from the lovely folks at the Book Boost as to what topics to cover. Which reminded me of a quote from author Patrick Dennis: “I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.”

Bad Weather: Hmmm, I live in Southern California and complaining about rain or when the temp drops below 50 degrees will probably get me drawn and quartered and trussed up like a snowman by everyone in the Midwest and East.

"Hi Neighbor" Month: My husband is antisocial. I think in the 11 years we’ve lived in this neighborhood, we’ve only said hi once or twice. And again, this is Southern California. A friendly expression could get you shot, and not with a camera. (Except that we have enough guns to hold off a major zombie invasion indefinitely.)

Writing Goals
: That would be a great subject to talk about if I actually set them. You see, I’m a closet pantser. I like to think I plan, but all I really do are bullet points. No pun intended from the above. I would however, highly recommend plotting especially if you have an uncooperative muse, which mine tends to be. I have to coax her with chocolate and peanut butter, and promises that the five year old will not interrupt that great sex scene again.

Top 10 Things I Would Do Differently Next Year: Ten is not a big enough number. As a publicist, I make my living by writing and promotion, and thought once I was published, that all those years of dealing with the media would give me a tactical advantage (are you sensing a gun theme here?) But although my first book Past Her Time came out this year, I still made rookie mistakes.

I don’t Twitter; I’m not a bird and I tend to be long winded anyways. I did reach out through Facebook, which unfortunately tends to suck the writing well dry coming up with clever status updates. And who can resist all those funny photos? I tried advertising, even though I know the stats on how effective it is and how much money you actually have to spend to reach 1% of your potential audience. Since I’m not a presidential candidate, the advertising campaign was a bust. I also tackled the mighty Amazon, and fought the good rankings war. I wrote hilariously funny blogs like the one you’re reading now (as well as some geeky ones on quantum physics and parallel universes. Hey, I write time travel.)

So what would I change? I’ll let you know next year once the sequel to Past Her Time is out.

Holiday Traditions: I’m from Texas and my husband and his family are from El Salvador. Over the years, there have definitely been some ah, cultural differences and lots of surprises. I had never had tamales for Christmas Eve dinner, and he never had green bean casserole or jellied cranberry sauce (you know the kind that’s comes out of the can shaped just like it?) My family celebrated on Christmas Day and his celebrated Christmas Eve. Now that would be great if we all lived close together, but since my parents are still in Texas, we always have the in-law battle as to where we’re going. I have to say, the airport just does not have the holiday spirit. I think they need a visit from the three Ghosts of Christmas.

I was also unfamiliar with the tradition of the Three Wise Men gift, although my son thinks it’s great—he gets even more presents after Christmas! We’re going to have to add on a new wing to the house to hold all his toys. The spoiling from two sets of grandparents rivals government spending.

So now that I’ve exhausted all the topics, or if you’re hoping I’ll wrap this up (pun intended) I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, wonderful holiday and New Year.

Tell me about your traditions, the weather, what you would do differently in 2012, anything and everything. I’m blessed to have a wonderful family and friends, and to have fulfilled the writing dream this year.

And to celebrate, one lucky commenter will win a beautiful fossil pendant necklace that’s millions of years old. Did I mention I’m a history buff?

A Note from the Book Boost: Melissa, you've exhausted me just reading this! Very clever and thanks for making time for us here during a very busy season. Please tell us more about your book!


Making the world, if not a better place, at least a familiar one. It is the motto of the Lineage, a secret organization founded in the late 22nd century to correct anomalies in history caused by early time-travelers. Comprised of men and women from different time periods, these agents have been highly trained to get in and get out, and stay under the radar.

Agent Alexandra “Alex” Raines has been assigned to 1793 France in the midst of revolution. But she has no time for Gabriel Huntington, a man who doesn’t always follow convention and can’t take even the most obvious hint. After being inadvertently rescued by Lord Huntington, it takes all of her training not to lay him flat on the ground, and all of his not to lay her flat on her back.

For Gabriel, Alexandra was just another damsel in distress, sans dragon. A fashionable gentleman of the London ton, Gabriel’s main concern was the latest way to tie his cravat. Or was it? Just what was he doing in Paris? And was that a mask in his back pocket?

The French Revolution pitted noble against peasant, friend against friend. Thrown together in an elaborate game of cat and mouse, can these two learn to take of the disguises and trust each other? Or will the fate of the world and time travel rest on Alex’s ability to betray the one man she has come to love?


She could tell him the truth. Although Alex doubted the “saving your ass” part would go over well, and she’d already had one narrow escape today.

The road ahead came into focus, along with her equilibrium. Gabriel slowed their pace from the brisk, can’t-catch-a-breath canter he’d whipped the horse into after clearing the Paris gates.

“I’m rather embarrassed to tell you why I’m out here, ah, alone.” She pushed tangled hair out of her eyes and decided bonnets had their uses after all.

Gabriel didn’t respond.

Alex frowned slightly. She recognized the tactic. Give the subject enough rope or silence, and they’ll hang themselves. “I—I’ve been trying to learn how to drive. I know it’s not considered a very appropriate skill for a lady, but I thought it might be useful.” Half-truths were more plausible than full lies.

He pursed his lips but still didn’t answer.

“It seemed it would be easier to practice outside the city where no one would see me. I didn’t realize how difficult it is, though. I lost control.”


Alex attempted a smile. “I—I apologize for the incident back there. The guards are rather difficult these days.”

“Do you leave the city often?” Gabriel asked casually, the first words he’d spoken.

Damn. His trick had worked, and she’d been careless with her tongue. No man had ever flustered her this much or made her, even briefly, forget her duties as an agent for the Lineage. Despite his lazy smiles, this man was sharp.

Want More Melissa?

Visit her website here: www.melissajarvis.net

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.

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Kate Richards said...

Merry Christmas, Melissa. I'm in SoCal too and honest, I grew up in my neighborhood near East L.A. and many of my neighbors did too, some of us are third and fourth generation...it's like a small town in the city. you come live here and we'll be friendly!

Debby said...

Merry Christmas! We are expecting snow on Christmas day. I love a white Christmas. In 2012, I plan to find some patience somewhere.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Heather Endow said...

Melissa dear -- we don't do tamales for Christmas, but we do chorizo for Christmas breakfast. Comes with being Southern Californian -- you don't have to be part of an ethnic group to adopt their food traditions!
Hugs to C and N!!

robena grant said...

Hannukah began last night at sundown. I visited my daughter in her new home. It was a time for latkes and brisket and matzo ball soup, and.... Then at the weekend I begin celebrating Christmas with friends. By New Year I cannot look at rich food any more. No wonder our resolutions are often about gyms and dieting. ; )
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, Melissa.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a bit anitsocial. I became a member of the HOA just so I could get to know more people. I know a few of my neighbors. Not close, but I know their names and they know mine. Guess what, he likes that I know all these people. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Bonny Wilson said...

Our holidays are special because it it my father's birthday on December 24th. We have always celebrated his birthday first at my parent's home and now at my sister's. He turned 85 this year. I also remember a certain Thanksgiving that was spent with my daughter's college roommate going to Ventura, Ca. and celebrating that holiday with us. She and her family are special to us!